Facebook updates ad targeting system after ProPublica discovers anti-semitic categories
FILE PHOTO – A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this illustration photo :Thomson Reuters
After investigative news outlet ProPublica revealed how Facebook’s algorithm enabled advertisers to serve ads to almost 2,300 “Jew haters,”the platform has been forced to clean its act up.
In a blog post published Thursday, the company said that it was removing these self-reported targeting fields to ensure that targeting is not used for discriminatory purposes, until it has the right processes in place to help prevent the issue.
Facebook is also enabling advertisers to report any inappropriate targeting fields directly in the ads interface or through its Help Center.
“Our community standards strictly prohibit attacking people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, and we prohibit advertisers from discriminating against people based on religion and other attributes,” the company said in the blog post.
The company explained that the categories were generated by a small percentage of people entering offensive responses in the education and employer sections of their profiles. Facebook said that the fields that showed up for ProPublica in its ads interface as targetable audiences for campaigns were because of these rogue employer and education sections.
The company also said that the number of people in these segments was incredibly low, and so an extremely small number of people were targeted in these campaigns.
Facebook’s advertising has also been in hot water recently since it revealed that it had discovered that $100,000 worth of ads were placed on its platform during the 2016 presidential election season by “inauthentic” accounts that appeared to be affiliated with Russia.